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Longtime Competitors to Unite in Service to Credit Unions
September 21, 2011
September 22, 2011
In a move insiders are calling “a huge development” for credit unions, the boards of Financial Service Centers Cooperative, Inc (FSCC) and CO-OP Financial Services have announced plans to combine the credit union shared branch services they provide.
Sarah Bang, the President/CEO of FSCC, is in Tacoma this week for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) Convention and Annual Business Meeting. She predicts uniting what were once “terrific competitors” will provide even more ease for credit union participation, as well as more outlets where their members can conduct financial transactions.
Shared branching is not a new concept to credit unions in Oregon and Washington. Bang called regional credit union leadership “forward-thinking” and said leadership in the region has driven a lot of technology and service improvements to shared branching services.
“The Northwest has always been a leader in shared branching,” Bang said, pointing out that every 7-11 in Oregon and Washington has a Vcom® kiosk that allows credit union members to conduct transactions as if they were visiting their own credit union branch. Bang said the top four 7-11 shared branch credit union performers in the country are northwest credit unions.
The combined forces of CO-OP Financial and FSCC will provide shared branching to 1,700 credit unions, offering more than 6,700 locations in all 50 states and five countries, Bang said.
She acknowledged that FSCC and CO-OP Financial determined that instead of being competitors as cooperatives, they would join forces to compete with vulnerable big banks.
In a news release issued earlier this week, CO-OP Financial Services President/CEO Stan Hollen said the combination of CO-OP and FSCC would create efficiencies for the credit union movement.
“With more than 4,300 branch locations, credit unions have at their disposal the fourth largest network in the country, behind the three largest national banks” Hollen said. “This truly enables credit unions to compete and win against banks in terms of the access and convenience they can offer their members.”
“There’s no denying that FSCC and CO-OP have been terrific competitors. Imagine what we can do together,” added Bang, herself a resident of the Pacific Northwest.
Posted in MAXX Annual Convention.